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Will Enough Theaters Be Open Before Tenet? Here's What One Head Honcho Says

Tenet Robert Pattinson and John David Washington talking as they walk outside

Tenet: it’s a word that’ll open the right doors, and some of the wrong ones. But major theater chains, Warner Bros and writer/director Christopher Nolan are seriously hoping it’ll open one more set of doors, those to a theater near you, before it’s set to release on July 17t. While that's not a definite prospect, and one that even the studio is hedging its bets on, Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi thinks that by time Tenet is ready to roll, there will be enough screens ready to make it worth everyone’s while.

As Business Insider heard from Mark Zoradi himself, this projection is made on optimism, with some serious caveats in play:

We’ve been in close contact with Warner Bros. and they remain optimistic and positive as well as Christopher Nolan about the July 17 opening. Of course, it depends on the continued positive movement due to the decline of COVID-19 and government restrictions being reduced.

Naturally, Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros have been huge proponents for Tenet to make its originally intended July 17 debut. Cinemark has banked on these feelings as well, considering it was one of the first of the three major theater chains to announce its plans for reopening to meet this very specific occasion. From a practical standpoint, all that has to happen is for state governments to allow movie theaters to reopen, and Tenet can get the show back on the road.

That leads to a brand new set of concerns, the first of which being what movie theaters will look like when the doors are opened for the very first time. Obviously new safeguards and restrictions will be needed in order to make audiences feel safe. In the case of Cinemark, there are apparently breakthroughs so advanced, you won’t be expected to wear a mask during your screening of Tenet.

No matter how you invert the scenario, the brass tacks scenario is the following: Warner Bros and Christopher Nolan want Tenet to release on July 17. Major movie theater chains have lost so much money from their closures that they too want Tenet to happen on schedule. And a good number of states are in the middle of ramping up the opening of non-essential businesses, thanks to currently declining rates of the current health crisis.

How those statements change, and how successful the path to theatrical reopenings fares, will depend on whatever happens in the weeks spanning between now and Tenet. So for those looking for a sure sign about whether or not this mind bender is going off on schedule, they can easily look to John David Washington’s dialogue from the first trailer for a clear answer: “It hasn’t happened yet.” But with the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) thinking that 90% of worldwide movie theaters will be opened by July, the odds look to be trending positively.

Tenet is scheduled for theatrical release on July 17, provided no further delays are had.

Mike Reyes

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.